Tag Archives: Obama administration

The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program

The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program

“In one tactic, the NSA ‘geolocates’ the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have ‘absolutely’ been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.”

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Calif. Senate Urges Congress To Revisit Vote On NSA Surveillance

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Dirty wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s new film exposes hidden truths of covert U.S. warfare

Dirty wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s new film exposes hidden truths of covert U.S. warfare

“If you look at the use of the state secrets privilege; if you look at the way the Obama administration has expanded the drone wars; has empowered special operations forces, including from JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, to operate in countries where the United States is not at war; if you look at the way in which the Obama administration has essentially boxed Congress out of any effective oversight role of the covert aspects of U.S. foreign policy, what we really have is a president who has normalized, for many, many liberals in the United States, the policies that they once opposed under the Bush administration. And, you know, this really has been a war presidency.”

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How does the global war on terror ever end?

How does the global war on terror ever end?

“Obama’s counterterrorism team had developed what was referred to as the ‘Disposition Matrix,’ a database full of information on suspected terrorists and militants that would provide options for killing or capturing targets. Senior administration officials predicted that the targeted killing program would persist for ‘at least another decade.’ During his first term in office, the Washington Post concluded, “’Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.’”

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Syria and our educational system: A discussion with Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Lawrence Davidson and Ilan Pappé

Syria and our educational system: A discussion with Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Lawrence Davidson and Ilan Pappé

PAPPÉ: While in the American academia the knowledge production on the Middle East in general and Syria in particular has been considerably transformed in recent years, the dissemination of these more updated views fails to reach the conventional educational system. For two main reasons: Politics can still subdue and censor views that are not endorsed ideologically, and academics have still not learned how to write openly, directly and, one should say, courageously about these issues.”

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Guantánamo: The President could close it tomorrow if he really wants to

Guantánamo: The President could close it tomorrow if he really wants to

“Congress did amend the National Defense Authorization Act three years ago to prohibit funding for the transfer of any Guantánamo detainee to the U.S. It also prohibited funding for transfers to other countries, unless the Defense Secretary personally certified that the transferred detainee would never engage in terrorist activity. Because no one can give such a personal assurance, that provision effectively blocked transfers. But Congress then amended the law to allow the Secretary to waive that requirement and to transfer detainees to other countries if he finds (1) that the receiving country will take steps to ‘substantially mitigate’ the risk that the detainee will engage in terrorist activity, and (2) that the transfer is in U.S. national security interests.”

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Moral & Legal Challenges of Drone Warfare

Peace Policy

Ethicists and international legal experts speaking at the Kroc Institute conference (March 19-21) raised concerns about the implications of drone warfare. Martin Cook(U.S. Naval War College) noted that drone weapons reduce the risk to U.S. forces and result in fewer civilian casualties, but they may increase the temptation to use force. They may be “tactically smart but strategically dumb,” he said.

The justifications for drone warfare offered by Obama administration officials invoke the jus ad bellum and jus in bello criteria of just war doctrine, presenters said, but they fail to mention the core principle at the heart of this doctrine:  the presumption against the use of force. Just war principles of discrimination and last resort are often cited in rhetoric but are frequently violated in practice.

Under jus ad bellum criteria, Jennifer Welsh (Oxford University) argued, military force can be used only under very specific and necessary circumstances: …

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